Sioka inaugurates new Labour Advisory Council

WINDHOEK: The new Labour Advisory Council (LAC) should pay urgent attention to the living conditions of workers at employer-provided accommodation establishments as well as the dangerous mode of transportation provided to workers, the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare said here on Monday.

Doreen Sioka made the call during the inauguration and induction workshop of the 12th Labour Advisory Council (LAC).

The 13-member council is made up of officials from the private sector, trade unions and the public service sector.

“The recent exposure of the living conditions at employer-provided accommodations and the dangerous mode of employer transportation of workers in certain industries have highlighted the need to pay greater attention to the health and safety protection of workers,” she bemoaned.

Sioka said the growth in uranium mining has also brought to the fore the potential harm that could befall workers in that sector.

Amongst other priorities, the minister called upon the Labour Advisory Council to investigate the most serious issues and challenges in the labour market and to propose solutions through consensus.

She also urged the council to promote greater awareness and adherence to the labour and employment laws by employers and employees.

‘Work together in the national interest to prevent disputes through social dialogue and collective bargaining and provide advise on the strengthening of the statutory and institutional framework for the prevention and resolution of labour disputes,’ she noted.

The council should also advise the minister in a timely manner on proposed legislation on issues to be discussed at international, regional and sub-regional multilateral forums, and on reports submitted to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) on the implementation of its conventions.

According to Sioka, the LAC can play an important role in fulfilling the economic and social vision and goal which Namibia set as a nation in the form of Vision 2030 and the National Development Plans (NDPs).

“We, therefore, have a responsibility to keep our communication channels open, not just between the ministry and its social partners but also between the workers and employers in the interest of building a harmonious and prosperous nation,” she added.

The LAC is a statutory tripartite body established in terms of the Labour Act of 2007 to advise the minister on a wide range of issues in the areas of labour and employment.

The responsibilities of the LAC include advising the minister on various matters which include employment creation; supporting the informal economy; addressing the extreme income inequality; and improving health and safety at the workplace.